Niccolo Canepa had a very tough rookie year in MotoGP. The Italian joined the Pramac Ducati team after a year as Ducati's test rider, having won the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup a year before. But once he made the switch from test rider to MotoGP rider, he has struggled badly, circulating close to the back of the field for much of the season. So it was no surprise that the likable Italian lost his MotoGP ride at the end of the 2009 season.
He may be out of a MotoGP ride, but he is not out of the paddock, however. The Scot Racing Team announced today that Niccolo Canepa has been signed a one-year contract to race in Moto2 next season. Like Canepa, Scot Honda found itself out of the MotoGP paddock, after both Yuki Takahashi and his later replacement Gabor Talmacsi found themselves circulating behind even Canepa. Financial problems within the team meant that the team could not afford to provide the support necessary for the bike to be competitive, and having two rookies on the bike reduced their chances even further. In contrast to the Scot Racing team's problems in MotoGP, their 250cc program was triumphant, winning both the last ever 250 championship with Hiroshi Aoyama, as well as the rookie of the year award with Raffaele de Rosa.
In 2010, the Scot team will have only Moto2 to concentrate on. The team has chosen to design its own chassis, in partnership with the Italian engineering company Rapid Inside NCS, and has signed Canepa to help develop the bike during the first year of the Moto2 class. As a former Ducati test rider, Canepa is an excellent choice as a development rider, and brings the extra bonus of being an engineering student as well. No announcement has been made on who will be the second rider alongside Canepa.